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Voyageurs National Park


One of the best kept secrets among the national parks, Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota offers adventures throughout the year. A bit off the beaten trial and not near any large cities, this park offers solitude for those wanting to escape.

A land of water and forests, this area offers lush green treasures hidden within forests, expansive lakes perfect for a canoe excursion, and abundant wildlife for nature lovers. Take your pick, or stay and enjoy it all.

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With 40 percent of the park consisting of water—four large lakes and 26 interior lakes—water activities are front and center here. There are 500-plus islands and 615 miles of shoreline within this park, which borders Canada.

The night skies provide more attractions for night owls. Star-filled dark skies highlight the northern lights, whose dance reflects in the abundant lakes, giving you more reasons to stay up late by the campfire.

Hundreds of campsites can be reached from the water; a backcountry canoe camping trip may appeal to the adventurous. For those who want to camp with comforts, there are nearby drive-up camping sites outside the park.

Guided boat trips are available if you can only spend one day, but if you are wanting to kick back on the water, renting a houseboat might be the way to go.

If you prefer your feet on solid ground, there are 110 miles of trails. Only seven official hiking trails are accessible by car; several of these are easy trail loops under 3 miles. The Kab-Ash Trail, however, is 28 miles one way, giving even the serious hiker a workout.

Many birds and animals live within the park. Black bear, wolf, moose, deer, and smaller animals like fox, otter, beaver, and porcupine are seen in the park. Bird-watchers are treated to an abundance of eagles, osprey, ducks, and loons near the water, while songbirds like warblers flit through the trees.

Of course, the far north offers plenty of snow-related activities for the hardy winter visitor. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing give visitors a chance to explore the backcountry.

    • Location: Minnesota
    • Established: 1975
    • Size: 218,200 acres
    • Annual visitors: 273,000
    • Activities: boating, fishing, wildlife and bird-watching, stargazing, canoe camping, hiking; Winter activities: ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing
    • Other attractions of note: Kettle Falls Hotel dates to 1910
    • Ellsworth Rock Gardens features 62 terraced flower beds, 200 rock sculptures